Free energy check-ups available

Energy Trust contractor will provide free light bulbs, shower heads in Bend

By Rachael Rees / The Bulletin

Published Dec 8, 2012 at 04:00AM

A team of energy consultants wants to give away free light bulbs, shower heads and faucets and educate up to 600 households in the city of Bend about energy efficiency — all by Dec. 15.

Energy Direct Install and Education Team (DIET), a contractor with the nonprofit Energy Trust of Oregon has available up to 600 appointments, which last 20 minutes.

“Everything we do is designed to reduce the energy use of a home,” said John Sweet, owner of Energy DIET.

During appointments, an energy consultant will connect homeowners with contractors including Bend-based GreenSavers USA Inc., that can help them make energy-efficient upgrades, Sweet said.

Sweet said consultants will also give homeowners up to 10 free compact fluorescent light bulbs, two high-performance shower heads and three faucet aerators each to help them cut energy costs. In addition, he said consultants will turn down gas water heaters to 120 degrees and give out free Tide cold-water detergent — both services unique to the Bend project.

The service is only being offered in the city of Bend, he said.

In total, energy savings from the free items could be as much as $15 a month per home, with additional savings on homeowners’ water and sewer bills.

“We’ve never done a program this size for this period of time,” Sweet said, noting Energy DIET primarily works out of the Portland-metro area. “This is the most ... (workers) we’ve ever put in one location to complete a project like this.”

Sweet said the purpose of the project is to help Cascade Natural Gas, which serves a portion of Central Oregon, save a certain amount of therms in 2012 so it can meet goals set with the Energy Trust. Right now, he said Cascade is a little behind. Natural gas is measured in therms, which represents heating value.

“We’re coming in full-force. It’s a huge goal,” Sweet said. “We’re trying to reduce 10,000 therms of natural gas for Cascade.”

Energy Trust pays for the free items. The nonprofit agency is funded by a surcharge paid by customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas. Energy DIET also receives commissions from contractors who make energy improvements to the homes.

“We’ve got guys ready and lots of availability next week,” Sweet said. “We’re ready to go.”

For more information

The team from Energy DIET plans to offer its free energy efficiency upgrades and information through Dec. 15. To make an appointment, call 503-877-3303 and leave a message with your address and a two-hour window between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.